Sep 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians (left) talks with quarterback Drew Stanton (5) during the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve said ever since the schedule came out in April that this was the one game I could mark on the schedule as a loss for the Cardinals on the schedule. I even said it as recently as Monday of this week. However the more and more I’ve analyzed the numbers, the participants, and the intangibles, I think the Cards have a shot at beating the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Denver. In fact, I’m calling Cards upset. If I’m wrong, I’ll own it.
Do I think chances are better that Denver wins? Absolutely. Do the Cards have zero chance? No, they have a chance. They’ve been quiet. They’ve had rest. Yes, they are missing their starting quarterback but that hasn’t been a huge issue so far. The one factor that it always comes back to though: Peyton Manning.
Manning can just make you look silly at times. However the Arizona defense should give him a few fits. The Arizona defense will give Birdgang a few fits on Sunday I’m sure as well. I think this game ends up being closer than many think. The Cards don’t have to play perfect, well, because they won’t, but they do have to be darn near it for them to win.
Turnovers. The Cards will need to generate them on defense and not create them on offense. Larry Fitzgerald can’t fumble on the five and expect the Cards to win. Drew Stanton can’t count on every pass he throws to a defender to be dropped.
Denver has everything on their side though. Manning, a home crowd, and oh did I mention Manning is going for his 500th touchdown pass on Sunday? Yeah, there’s that too. Like he needed any extra incentive.
The Cards should be able to contain running back Montee Ball. He rushed 49 times for only 165 yards for just a 3.4 yards per carry average. That’s not the Broncos strength on offense anyway. Their passing game is. Tight end Julius Thomas and receiver Emmanuel Sanders are the two guys to be worried about the most. This one really could go either way. Not sure I’d want to bet on this one. Find a way to stay close and you never know. On any given Sunday. I’ll make the homer call though.
Prediction: Cardinals 30 Broncos 28